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The Coastal Stages

The Halliday family had a hotel in Point Arena from which Mr. Halliday also ran the stage line from Cazadero, where the railroad ended, up to the village of Mendocino.

In the time of the logging and other activities they ran big stages with four to six horses and changed them often. Later when Mr. Jackson drove from Gualala to Mendocino, a two-horse stage was enough for the regular run.

Mr. Jackson's home was in Mendocino and he was well on the road when the 1906 earthquake hit. He told of how the ocean receded way out, much more than a very low tide. He also told of driving on days when the north wind was howling and both the driver and the team suffered greatly.

One year shortly after 1900 my mother was teaching the at the school near Iversen landing and we stayed with the Smedleys. It was a very good place to stay. Mrs. Smedley was an excellent cook and housekeeper and there was lots to do. Their grandson Jodie Look was also there.

We tried all fall to trap some quail. There were thousands there but we had no luck until Mrs. Smedley to pity on us and we altogether got the real trap out and set it. It was very ingenious with a little tunnel through which the quail could get in but not out. We went down next morning and the trap was full of birds. We had a very special quail pie, but Mrs. Smedley would not let us use it again because it caught too many birds.

Mrs. Smedley teamed into Iversen Landing and would leave very early in the morning and not get home until evening. The highlight for Mrs. Smedley was the time she rode in a carriage in a San Francisco parade with President William McKinley and Mrs. McKinley. Apparently they had been old schoolmates.

I remember when I was to come home to Mendocino one day. My mother and I walked down to the landing very early in the morning for me to catch the stage. While waiting there the Chinese cook gave us coffee. I will always remember how good that tasted with regular cream.

When the stage got to Point Arena, the passengers waited in the hotel for the change of horses. Over the stove were some little wheels and spirals that revolved from the heat. Mr. Halliday spoke of the stage fares. It was $.50 up to Anchor Bay and something like $5 to Mendocino. The stage also carried the mail and there would be a stop at each post office — and there were many of them. It was a long day to Mendocino but where else could you ride all day for so little?

Mr. Halliday also spoke of the bridge over the Gualala River, which caved in partly in the 1906 earthquake, and of the ferry which was in operation before the bridge was built. The ferry man was independent and if someone came along who he didn't care for he would make them wait awhile. The fare for one person was 25¢ and teams would be charged according to size and load.

There were a number of landings along the entire coast and there were a number along the south coast as well. Gualala was the first in Mendocino County. Others appeared at strategic spots along the route. Iversen Landing has been abandoned for a long time and there is very little evidence left that it ever existed. It was a busy place in its day. They loaded fir cordwood and tanbark and redwood posts, possibly some ties too. At times there would be great piles with different materials waiting for the schooner to arrive.

It took tough men to sail those little schooner ships into the landings and then after they were loaded, to sail out to sea. They didn't always make it and the Mendocino Coast is dotted with places where ships were lost, all too often with all hands.

My uncle Charlie Tindall was interested in conducting business in Point Arena with two other men. I believe the firm was Tindall, Kimball and Young and the business was called Point Arena Mercantile Company. An item in the paper gave the opening date as 1896. They had a couple of schooners and they shipped cordwood, tanbark and redwood fence posts with some railroad ties.

It is likely they used many of the shipping ports along the way. I was told that my uncle operated a camp out on Fish Rock Road which was one of the primary timber shows.

There was a famous blacksmith in Point Arena who made Powell wedges and sledges which were famous for their quality all over the west coast. The secret was in the tempering. The wedges would not batter or chip and only the sledge needed dressing. To have a Poweell timber outfit was to have the best made gear you could get.

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